10 April 2018

Niger: 'I Am Not Afraid of Dying, As Long As I Can Die in My Sleep' - a Poignant Confession By Migrant Stranded in Agadez, Niger

press release

It's only 11 o'clock in the morning and Moussa Koulibaly is already sipping his sixth cup of Senegalese attaya-tea mixed with sugar and mint.

Moussa Koulibaly, 25, is a migrant from Côte d'Ivoire and lives in a "ghetto" (a generic name given to a group of houses rented by migrants) in Agadez, in northern Niger. There, he shares two rooms with more than 20 other young Africans coming from all parts of the continent: Gambia, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Sudan, Nigeria, DRC, CAR, Senegal, Chad.

They live in very precarious conditions without adequate food, running water and electricity. "Sometimes there are more than 30 people in the house. It's like little Africa," Koulibaly says.

The only utensils the young men own are a few mats on the floor, some plates and a teapot. The big dream they all share has brought them closer together.

They wish to reach Europe.

Thousands of migrants have passed through Agadez on their risky journeys towards Europe. Because of increased security measures, following the implementation of a law criminalizing transport of migrants in 2016, Koulibaly and his roommates are now stranded in Agadez.

Trapped, they gather every day to make attaya and to play chequerboard, hoping to proceed with their trips. Meanwhile, they talk about politics, corruption, unemployment and Europe. One can clearly see suffering in their eyes and hear profound anger and resentment in their voices.

"We drink tea to keep ourselves busy, to kill time. We have nothing else to do," says Koulibaly.

He left his home country, Côte d'Ivoire, in 2015. After a few months in Agadez, he managed to reach Libya where he was abducted by local militias. He was released only after having paid a ransom.

Crossing the desert was extremely difficult. "We didn't have anything. No food, no water. Some people succumbed".

Now back in Agadez, Moussa does not plan to return home to Côte d'Ivoire. He wants to attempt again, like thousands of others trapped in Agadez like him.

"My mother had to sell the land she owned to finance my journey. If I fail, my mother will have sacrificed everything in vain," says Koulibaly. "I am not afraid of dying, as long as I can die in my sleep," he adds poignantly.

Niger

Girls Find 'Sanctuary' in Fistula Treatment Centres

Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed visits the National Fistula Centre in Niamey, Niger, with Margot Wallstrom,… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.